Agonistic behavior is exhibited in animals of many species, involving expressions of aggressiveness and submissiveness by organisms in conflict situations. J.P. Scott and Emil Fredericson used the phrase “agonistic behavior” for the first time in their 1951 Physiological Zoology article, “The Causes of Fighting in Mice and Rats.”
An encounter between strangers of the same species is characterized by aggressive, threatening, appeasing, and avoidant behaviors. In addition, animals exhibit agonistic, ambivalent behaviors during these interactions, which are often characterized by ritualized display behavior typical of the species.
Animals of all kinds often display antagonism. It may be defined as a group of social behaviors connected to any aggressive or fighting behavior between two or more members of the same species and excludes interactions between predators and prey.
Agonistic behaviors are a big part of the life history of solitary species and the structure of groups of gregarious species. The three primary subtypes of these behaviors are threat, aggressiveness, and submission. All three are connected and may happen alone or in combination. Food, housing, territory, and mating partners are the leading causes of agonistic behavior.